Parents of Childhood Cancer Survivors Often Unaware of Future Physical, Intelligence and Quality of Life Limitations Interview with:

Katie Greenzang, MD Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center

Dr. Katie Greenzang

Katie Greenzang, MD
Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Greenzang: Advances made over the last several decades mean that more than 80 percent of children diagnosed with cancer will become long-term survivors. However, many of these survivors experience physical and cognitive late effects of the treatment that cured them. We surveyed 352 parents of children recently diagnosed with cancer to assess how well they understood their children’s risk of future limitations in physical abilities, intelligence, and quality of life. We found that an overwhelming majority of parents (92 percent) are very interested in learning about possible late effects, and most (86 percent) seek detailed information. Yet, parent and physician predictions of a child’s risk of experiencing late effects of treatment often don’t match. Among children identified by their oncologists as being at high risk for such challenges, only 38 percent of parents recognized this risk in physical abilities, 21 percent in intelligence, and 5 percent in quality of life. What should readers take away from your report?

Dr. Greenzang: Parents desire detailed information about possible late effects of therapy for pediatric cancers. However, parents may not be receiving the information they need, as parent perceptions about their child’s risks of late effects often don’t align with the perceptions of their child’s oncologist. Our study indicates a need for better communication between pediatric oncologists and parents about the risk of future health problems in survivors of childhood cancer. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Greenzang: In future studies, we plan to investigate whether information about potential late effects of treatment improves parent awareness of risk, and if it informs or modifies parent treatment decision-making. Thank you for your contribution to the community.

Citation: Abstract presented at the June 2016 ASCO meeting

Parents’ understanding of the risk of late effects of pediatric cancer therapy.
Author(s): Katie Greenzang, Angel Cronin, Tammy I Kang, Jennifer W. Mack; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA; The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA; Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, Boston, MA

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on June 6, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD